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Article I. The members of this Association shall be such 
persons as shall pledge themselves to the payment of not less 
than oile dollar per year for a period of ten years. The annual 
payment of one hundred dollars for ten years shall constitute a 
scholarship. Every member shall be entitled to vote at the an- 
nual meeting. 

Art. II. The various Ramabai Circles which have been or 
may be formed throughout the country may become branches of 
this Association. Any member of such branches, pledging the 
payment of not less than one dollar per year for ten years, shall 
be a member of this Association, and shall be entitled to vote at 
the annual meeting. 

Art. III. The officers of this Association shall consist of a 
President, not less than three Vice-Presidents, a Treasurer, a 
Recording Secretary, a Corresponding Secretary, a Board of not 
less than seven trustees, an Executive Committee consisting of 
not less than seven persons, and an Advisory Board of three 
members in India. All said officers shall be elected at the annual 
meeting, and shall hold their offices until others are elected and 
qualified in their stead. Any vacancies occurring in any of the 
offices of this Association may be filled by the Executive Com- 

Art. IV. The Board of Trustees shall manage and control all 
the property and affairs of the Association. 

Art. V. The annual meeting of the Association shall be held 
in March of each year at such time and place in Boston, Mass., as 
the President shall appoint. 

Art. VI. The Board of Trustees shall meet semi-annually at 
such time and place as its Chairman shall appoint. The Execu- 
tive Committee shall meet monthly at such time and place as its 
Chairman shall appoint. This Committee shall attend to all the 
business details of the Association, and report to the Board of 
Trustees as often as such Board shall direct. It shall also make 
an annual report to the Association. Special meetings of the 
Board of Trustees or of the Executive Committee may be called 
by their respective Chairman, when necessary. 

Art. VII. The Advisory Board shall report to the Trustees 
upon such matters as may seem to them important, and upon such 
special matters as may be referred to them by the Association or 
by the Board of Trustees or by the Executive Committee. 

Art. VIII. These By-laws may be amended at the annual 
meeting of the Association or at any meeting called for the pur- 
pose, by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting. 


fy^ J-J^L&O ^^rt^^C 

The Ramabai Association. 

T^eport of the oAnnual {Meeting 


[March 17, 1897. 



The Ramabai Association 

HELD MARCH 17, 1897 







Rev. E. W. DONALD, D.D. Rev. EDWARD E. HALE, D.D. 


Board of Trustees. 

Mr. ALPHEUS PL HARDY, Chairman. 






Mr. E. HAYWARD FERRY, Secretary. 

Mr. E. HAYWARD FERRY, 222 Boylston Street, Boston, Mass. 

Executive Committee. 

Mrs. J. W. ANDREWS, Chairman, 36 Rutland Square, Boston. 





Recording Secretary. 
Miss ANNIE G. KELLY, Channing Street, Cambridge. 

Corresponding Secretary. 
Miss A. P. GRANGER, Canandaigua, N.Y. 

Principal of Sharada Sadan. 


The Ramabai Association held its Ninth Annual Meet- 
ing in Trinity Chapel, Boston, on March 17, 1897. In the 
absence of the President, the first Vice-President, Rev. E. W. 
Donald, D.D., presided. The meeting was opened with 

Dr. Donald then said : — 

In the absence of the President of the Association I have 
been asked to preside this afternoon. The business of the 
presiding officer is to open the door to those who have 
something to say and the right to say it. Therefore, I shall 
content myself with calling upon those who are in authority 
to make the statements with regard to the work of the Asso- 
ciation for the last year which they have prepared. But I 
have been not only asked, but directed, to bring before the 
attention of the Association two matters of very critical im- 
portance, upon which some action will have to be taken either 
by the Association acting as a body or through some com- 
mittee that may be appointed here this afternoon with 
power or with directions to report at another meeting of the 

It is well known to all instructed members of the Rama- 
bai Association (and I take it for granted you are all well 
instructed) that originally, with deliberation, and for cause, 
the work of Ramabai in India was to be secular, and the 
secularity of it was not to be a mask of Christian purpose 
or Christian effort. The idea was that her particular work 
was to reach the high-caste widows of India and to do some- 
thing for them socially and morally. On that theory, and 
with strict adherence to it, the Association has gone on 
during the years of its existence. 


We are confronted by a fact ; not by a change of policy, 
not by a reversion of the principle of the Association, but 
by a fact. It is this : that year by year Ramabai has be- 
come more and more a Christian woman. Her frank identi- 
fication with Christianity has become more and more com- 
plete, until to-day we may say that Ramabai is openly a 
Christian woman. Now, anybody who is a Christian and 
who has observed the working of Christianity, the love of 
Jesus Christ in the human soul, knows perfectly well that, 
however hard one may try to keep it to one's self, it is 
bound to disclose itself in unconscious acts ; and not only 
that, but in acts which ought to be conscious, though it may 
be claimed that they are unconscious. 

In the school we find that Ramabai has latterly been in 
the habit of gathering together the pupils of the school for 
morning prayer. The school-bell, which is an official bell, 
has been rung at prayer time, Ramabai presiding at these 
morning devotions, and conducting them ; and, while there 
has been no coercion used to bring to them the pupils of 
the school, yet you may well understand that, when the 
school-bell rings, and the head of the school presides at the 
prayers which the official ringing of the school-bell an- 
nounces, many of the pupils will go in to the prayers who 
would not go if worship were conducted in a private room 
and without public announcement. Not only that, but 
Ramabai very frankly discloses the fact that she has not 
attempted to conceal from her pupils her desire that they 
should become Christians. She has not proselyted or pub- 
licly preached ; but all the pupils have felt the strong, and 
increasingly strong, influence of this Christian woman in 
the direction of their conversion to Christianity. Now, of 
course, we have to admit that this is a reversion of the past 
method of the school; and it is apparently — nay, really — 
a contradiction of the elementary principle of our Associa- 
tion. Secularity has been displaced by religion. 

We are confronted by this question : Shall we send to 


Ramabai the Association's mandate — ■ for it must be that — 
that she must return from the methods she is employing, 
give over her prayers, give over the ringing of the bell for 
Jhe prayers, and cease her efforts to bring these women to 
the feet of Christ ? That is the question which the Asso- 
ciation has got to meet in a very frank way this afternoon. 
It is perfectly idle for us to come here and look into one 
another's faces, and gently and suavely compliment one 
another upon the beautiful progress we have made during 
the past year, and upon the bright and glowing hopes of the 
future, when we know perfectly well there is a great question 
which it is our business to meet. I certainly would not 
have accepted the office of President this afternoon — 
knowing that this fact existed and that it must be met — if 
I had been told that I must gently pass over this whole 
matter, and let this company of men and women rejoice in 
the good news that comes to us from Ramabai that every- 
thing is going smoothly and successfully on. 

There is another matter which will come before us, and 
which I doubt whether this Association can this afternoon 
thoroughly and intelligently meet ; and that is the extension 
of the school buildings. These have been contracted for : 
they have not been paid for, and the money to pay for them 
is not in hand. But any property of the Association is 
legally liable for any deficiencies in the payments upon these 

These are -the questions which we shall have to take in 
hand this afternoon, either directly here in the legislative 
body of the various circles or in committee appointed by 
this Association. All these matters will be gone into more 
in detail by Mrs. Andrews, and perhaps by others. Barring 
these two questions, and important features of the year's 
work, we are glad to say that we shall hear from the reports 
that we have no cause for discouragement, but have ample 
ground upon which to rest our hopes for the year to come. 
It may be that this school as a frank Christian school will be 

able to reach the high-caste widows of India quite as suc- 
cessfully as a purely secular school, and certainly with more 
permanent and beautiful results. 

With this introduction I will ask Miss Kelly to read the 
records of the last year. 

The records of the last meeting were then read by the 
Recording Secretary, Miss Annie G. Kelly, and were 

The report of the Corresponding Secretary was then read 
by Miss A. P. Granger. 


With many of the seventy-two circles auxiliary to the 
Ramabai Association this has been the last of the ten years 
for which they pledged contributions, these circles ante- 
dating the actual formation of the Association by one year 
and the opening of the Sharada Sadan by two years. The 
gradual completion of pledges in previous years by mem- 
bers of circles of course reduced the amount to be paid, this 
year ; and, unless this fact is borne in mind, the smaller 
sum reported by the Treasurer now will give a false im- 
pression of waning interest. Nor should this year's re- 
ceipts suffer by comparison with those of last year, which 
included two payments from several circles. Besides the 
circles, Mrs. Hobson, head of the Virginia Auxiliary, re- 
ports $142 of the $150 pledged annually, and Mrs. G. N. 
Dana, of Boston, sends $90 collected from various clusters 
and friends. (These figures do not tally with those of our 
Treasurer, part of Mrs. Hobson's being included in last 
year's report, and some received too late for this, as was 
the case with Mrs. Dana's, also.) 

The fidelity shown by most of the circles here and in 
Canada, and by both these auxiliaries, deserves our highest 

praise, and is due to the systematic and unquenched zeal 
of their officers, who, as a rule, were roused to enthusiasm 
by Ramabai herself ten years ago, and have had the work 
in charge ever since. This same enthusiasm and the hope 
of again receiving Ramabai in this country, after ten years 
of faithful service, are now preventing all but ten circles 
from disbanding. 

And now, for the last time, probably (since the comple- 
tion next March of the Association's ten years must involve 
a new management), I implore all friends of Ramabai and 

her work to strive as they have never striven before to se- 
cure money in aid of the Sharada Sadan. To the sixty-two 
pupils already there, forty-nine child-widows, gathered from 
the famine districts of the Central Provinces, have been 
added by Ramabai, whose memory of the horrors of the 
famine in 1876, when her father, mother, and sister per- 
ished, seemed to her as the voice of the Lord impelling her 
to their rescue. At the risk of her own life she answered 
the call ; and can we now do less than our utmost in re- 
sponse to her heart-rending appeal ? 


Corresponding Secretary. 
Canandaigua, N.Y., March 8, 1897. 

The Treasurer, Mr. E. Hayward Ferry, presented the 
following report, which was accepted : — 


For Year ending Feb. 28, i8gy. 


Annual subscriptions (including life member- 
ships), $3,728.83 

Contributions to General Fund, 206.38 

Scholarships, 1,000.00 $4,935.21 

Interest on current accounts, $13.10 

Income (scholarships), 190.99 204.09 



Salaries and school expenses, $6,500.00 

Annual meeting, March 18, 1896 (6,000 reports), 258.52 

Cables, 36.10 

Stationery, postage, printing, and sundry ex- 
penses . . 215.04 

Rent Safe Deposit Box (one year) 10.00 



Life memberships (tenth year), $474.00 

General Fund, 5,170.14 

Scholarships, $11,900.00 

Income, 1,488.74 13,388.74 


Real Estate in Poona (cost $21,002.54), . . . $11,336.48 

Balance (cash) : — 

Provident Institution for Savings, Boston, $2,359.71 
Suffolk Savings Bank, Boston, .... 1,928.23 
Bay State Trust Co,, Boston, 3,408.46 7,696.40 



Total cash on hand, March i, 1896, .... $9,576.76 

March 1, 1897, .... 7,696.40 

Decrease, $1,880.36 

Total Receipts of the Association, March 1, 1896: — 

Subscriptions, $83,359.90 

Interest, 3,711.09 $87,070.99 

Total Expenditures, 79,374.59 





Balance March 1, 1896, $166.19 

Receipts, 322.20 $488.39 

Remitted Ramabai Dongre Medhavi, .... $488.39 

Total amount subscribed, $4,848.39 

E. & O. E. E. H. FERRY. 





Berea, Ky., Y. P. S. C. E., . . 


" Mrs. Dana's, . . . 


" Plymouth Church, 

Bryn Mawr College, .... 

California Association, . . . 

Camden, " King's Daughters' 
Steadfast Circle," .... 

Camden, "Willing Workers," 


" Granger Place School, 

Central City, Neb., .... 

Chelten Hills, 



Cloverdale, Cal. 


Concord, N.H., 


Constantinople, American Col- 
lege for Girls, 

Cooper, Mich., " Q. E., Jr., Mis- 
sionary Society," .... 

Delhi, N.Y., Miss Gilchrist's 
S. S. Class 

Denver, Col., 

Evanston, 111., 

Fairmount, N.Y., S. School, . 

Farmington, Miss Porter's 

Farmington, N.Y., W. C. T. U. 


Fremont, Neb., 

Geneva, N.Y., 

Germantown, First, .... 

" Second, . . . 

Gilbertsville, N.Y., .... 



Ninth Year. 


W hrh 


















" Girls' Classical School, 
Ithaca, Cornell University, 

Jacksonville, 111., 

Jamestown, N.Y., 

Kansas City, 



London, Ont., 

Los Angeles, 


Warren Memorial 

Presbyterian Society, . . . 


Marengo, 111., W. C. T. U., . 
Mills College, Cal., Tolman 


Montclair, N.J. 

Montesano, Wash., .... 



New Haven, 

New Hope, Pa., 

New York, 

" " Alice Spence-' 

Prentice Memorial," . . . 
New York, Miss Merrill's, 

" Missionary Society, 

Church of the Strangers, 

Niagara Falls, 

Normal, 111., 

Northampton, Smith College, 


Oakland, Cal., ... . . 

Ogontz, Pa., Ogontz School, 



Oswego Lend a Hand Circle 

King's Daughters, . . . . 

Pasadena, Cal., 

Pawtucket, R.I., 

Ninth Year. 

3 H a 
c s c 



















2 2. CO 











1. 00 




5 6 7-4i 







1. 00 
















Petaluma, Cal., 


Philadelphia, Josee, .... 

" Manorama, . . 

"v Sahaya, . . . 

Pine Bush, N.Y., 

Plainfield, N.J., 

Plainville, Conn., ..... 
Portland, Ore, ...... 


Quincy, 111., 

Riverside, Cal., W. C. T. U , . 

Roselle, N.J., 

Saco, Me., 

San Francisco, Miss Hamlin's, 

San Jose, Cal., 

" Cal., State Normal 


Santa Barbara, Cal, .... 

Santa Rosa, Cal., 

Sherwood, N.Y., 

Sioux City, 


Springfield, Mass., . . . . 


St. Louis, 

Tacoma, Wash., 




Virginia Association, . . . 
Warren, 111., Sunday School, 


Wilmington, Del., . . . . 

Ninth Year. 


< E^ 




















E. & O. E. 


Treasurer Ramabai Association. 


The following letter from Pundita Ramabai was read by 
the Corresponding Secretary : — 


Dear Friends, — Accept our grateful love and greetings 
at the beginning of this New Year. The Sharada Sadan 
has lived through eight years, and has undergone many 
trials ; but the good God is upholding it, and underneath it 
are his everlasting arms. He has reared it like a child, and 
it grows in the sunshine of his smiles. We thank our 
heavenly Father for all his mercies during the past year. 
We have tasted of his love and seen that the Lord is good. 
We thank him for giving good friends to care for us, a good 
house to live in, and plenty of food to eat. When we hear 
of the trouble our fellow-country people are in, we feel that 
our God has been very, very kind to us, and we can never 
be thankful enough for his goodness toward us. 

I am glad to be able to say that our school work is going 
on nicely. Our old and new helpers are helping faithfully, 
and it is delightful to see the teachers and pupils working 
with a will. The Sharada Sadana is showing signs of its 
usefulness, and it is not a small satisfaction that we can and 
may extend our hospitality and show our love to some of 
our suffering sisters. The time has indeed come when we 
shall be obliged to refuse admission to many more widows ; 
for this house is literally packed with young widows, and 
cannot contain many more. But we shall not refuse admis- 
sion to any who may come here and need our help, until 
God himself puts a stop to this work. Our country is 
visited with famine and plague, and God is testing our faith 
in him and our love for our neighbors. We should do our 
best to work faithfully for him. I told my girls the other 
day that there was a time when I took great delight in 
feeding them well and seeing them wearing nice garments, 
and nothing pleased me more than to see them look nice 


and fat. But the time has come when they shall not have 
much to eat, and I shall be glad to see them working hard 
day and night, looking thinner, wearing coarse garments, 
and eating plain meals, sacrificing a little of their comfort, 
and giving their time for saving the lives of some of their 
sisters. You will be glad to know that many of our girls 
are gladly doing what I tell them, and are making them- 
selves useful in every way. 

Eighty-six young widows and thirteen non-widow girls 
are under instruction. There are eight classes, including 
the matriculation standard, instructed by seven teachers. 
Besides these there is a drawing class, a music class, and 
a. class for training kindergartners. I was obliged to break 
our old kindergarten school last week. It was well at- 
tended, and everything in connection with it was going on 
satisfactorily. But the large number of newly arrived pupils 
must have room in the classes ; and, as the school-house is 
not large enough to accommodate both boarders and day 
scholars, the kindergarten class of twenty day pupils from 
outside was very reluctantly discontinued this week, and 
now the rooms of the school-house downstairs are filled with 
our new widows. We must very soon build another large 
dormitory and a school-house. We must really do it : other- 
wise, the large number of widows who will come here in 
a few months will have to sleep, take their meals, and study 
in open air ; for there is no room for them in the house and 
in the school building. 

You will naturally ask the question, Where do all these 
girls come from ? They have come from the famine dis- 
tricts of Central India, and I went thither to fetch them 
a little over four weeks ago. I had sent two workers a 
week beforehand ; and, with the help of God and a few 
good friends, I succeeded in getting forty-seven young 
widows from the famine districts. It was a very hard and 
expensive business. But the dear, good Father helped me 
through it all ; and I look to him for further help, for I must 

go again to the Central Provinces to help some more poor 
widows. It is a bold step I am taking without your per- 
mission. For, as you know, in this time of scarcity we shall 
find it very hard to support even fifty widows with the 
yearly allowance we receive, and How shall this large addi- 
tion to the former number of pupils be supported and edu- 
cated ? is a serious question ; but the Lord has laid this duty 
on me, and I am going to obey him in going to relieve as 
many young widows as he may be pleased to send to me. 
I heard about this famine nearly five months ago, and my 
heart went out to the poor suffering people of the Central 
Provinces at the time. I was trying to keep quiet and 
consider the trying financial condition of our school. But 
the state of things in the famine districts grows worse and 
worse daily : thousands are dying without food and shelter 
and sufficient clothing in this cold season. The govern- 
ment has opened relief works and poorhouses to help the 
famine-stricken people, but there are many cases who need 
more help than the government can give. The people who 
go to the relief camps have to break a given quantity of 
stone, and carry it to the appointed place. They have to 
work on the roads and railroads. The middle class and 
high-caste people do not want, as a rule, to go to the relief 
camps, as they are unaccustomed to the hard work ; but 
all men and women, boys and girls, able to work are driven 
by the police to the relief works whenever they are found 
begging their food. 

All little- children and old people are driven to the " poor- 
houses," which are nothing but miserable sheds temporarily 
erected or open 'grounds fenced with thorns. The poor 
people — men, women, and children — are baked there in 
the sun in the day, and lie in heaps at nights, freezing in the 
cold air, and drag their miserable life through these hard 
times as best they can. Whether at the relief camps or in 
the poorhouses, their condition is frightful and pitiable. 
These places of relief are better than no shelter, and they 


are a help to many ; but they are not fit places for young 
women. Wicked men and women are taking advantage of 
the helpless condition of the poor homeless girls, and a 
wholesale traffic in young girls is carried on by them. To 
let the young widows go to the relief camps or to the poor- 
houses, or to allow them to wander on the highways, means 
to let them go to their eternal destruction. Death by star- 
vation is but a small matter compared with the misery 
they have to be in when they fall into the hands of wicked 
people. Ever since I have seen the poor girls, — - some fallen 
into the hands of wicked men, ruined for life, and turned 
out by their cruel masters to die a miserable death ; some 
being treated in the hospitals, only to be taken back into 
the pits of sin ; some bearing the burden of sin, utterly lost 
to the sense of shame and humanity, — hell has become a 
horrible reality to me, and my heart is bleeding for these 
young daughters of this country. Who, with a mother's 
heart and a sister's love, can rest quietly at this time, seeing 
that thousands of young lives are being utterly destroyed 
and sacrificed to sin? I cannot forget the old days in 
which the merciful God was so good to me and kept me 
from harm; and it is my belief that I have been saved by 
him for this time, that I may show my gratitude by action 
and save at least a few of the young widows. Some of my 
girls and I have made up our minds to stand by these suf- 
fering sisters of ours. So long as we have a little room and 
some grain and a piece of cloth left in our school, we will 
share these with our new girls and look to God for help. 
He knows our present need and the danger around us. 
The plague which devastated Bombay, and is still making a 
great havoc there, has come to Poona also; and we do not 
know what will happen to us in the next hour. Dear 
friends, help us with your prayers and active sympathy, 
and the Father of mercies will keep us under the shadow 
of his wings. 

You will be pleased to know that our farm is getting on 


nicely. It is yielding much vegetable, and we shall not 
have to buy it from the market. For some time two new 
wells are under construction, and one is almost finished. 
The fruit-trees already planted are doing well. We could 
not plant more for want of rain ; but, when the new wells 
are ready, we shall plant some thousand of them. 

Dear friends, uphold us with your prayers and sympathy 
at this time of our need. God bless you for helping and 
working for us ! You will get your reward at the hands of 
the good God whom you are serving. With kindest regards, 
believe me, 

Sincerely yours, 


Poona, Sharada Sadana, Jan. 27, 1897. 


To the Members of the Ramabai Association : 

The ten years for which the Ramabai Association was 
pledged to the support of the Sharada Sadan are nearly 
completed. We are now entering the last year of the 
decade. During all these years Pundita Ramabai, in her 
loving efforts to raise her degraded sisters to a plane higher 
than "a level with cattle," to release them from the thral- 
dom of ignorance and superstition, has met with every ex- 
perience that must come to one who battles alone for a 
new and sacred cause. She has met with vile abuse and 
tender blessings, with bitter opposition and helpful encour- 
agement, with censure and praise, with success but with 
failure — never. She has been persecuted, prostrated, but 
not overcome. With Christians on the one side and her 
Hindu brothers on the other, she stood between two fires. 
By the one party she was censured for keeping a Hindu, 
God-less school. On the other hand, the Hindus accused 
her of breaking the promise made to her people, and con- 
verting the Sadan into a Christian home. Many have 
been the storms, more or less severe, through which the 
sympathy and encouragement of the Executive Committee 
have helped her. Many have been the serious problems 
given them to solve, but none more serious than the ques- 
tions that confront them to-day, that confront the Associa- 
tion and Ramabai. 

How is the greatly increased number of the inmates of 
Sharada Sadan to be supported during this year ? In the 
light of recent events, what is the present status of the 
school, and what will be its future basis ? Will the Associa- 
tion cease to exist March u, 1898? If so, what disposal 

r 9 

shall it make of the property it now holds ? The latter are 
questions for the circles and officers to consider seriously 
during the present year, and be prepared to discuss with 
Ramabai when she comes here next year, as advised. 

During the past year the changes in the Sharada Sadan 
have been greater in number and in importance than during 
all the previous years. Quite a number of the pupils found 
exerting a bad influence over others were sent away. 
Three of the old female teachers were replaced by male 
teachers, the results of which experiment have not yet been 
reported. The number of avowed Christians has increased 
from twelve to twenty-three ; while, according to a recent 
account, all but four of the fifty pupils attend prayers. 
And, as you have just learned from Ramabai's report, the 
number of inmates suddenly jumped from fifty-six to ninety- 
nine, filling the Sadan to overflowing, so that a new cook- 
room and a large dining-room were at once begun. These 
are the changes in the Sadan in less than a year. Before 
speaking further of these changes, it may be well to quote 
extracts from a letter bearing upon one of them. It is 
from a missionary who was passing a week with Ramabai, 
and became greatly interested in the home. She writes as 
follows : — 

" How I wish you were here this morning to see what I 
see and hear what I hear in Pandita Ramabai's Home for 
Widows. Arriving at 5.30 a.m., while it was yet dark, I 
found Ramabai and the Christian girls assembled in the 
prayer-room for the morning devotions. They meet every 
morning at five o'clock. At six o'clock the bell is rung, 
and those girls who are not Christian may come if they 
desire to do so. Out of the fifty girls all come except 
four. I had never met Ramabai before ; but she met 
me like an old friend, and gave me much time in showing 
me the workings of the home and school. Three of 
the girls came to my room yesterday for me to pray 
with them. A deep work is going on here all the time. 
It is a work to praise God for. These homeless, helpless, 
and hopeless widows are taken, taught, trained, — -developed 


for Christian service. ' I have asked God to send only 
those girls who will become Christians,' said Ramabai to 
me yesterday. ' I want all elements which hinder to be 
removed from my school,' she continued." 

Whether this be the exaggerated account of an enthusiast 
or not, we cannot but see by Ramabai's own recent letters 
that the character of the school has materially changed 
during the past year. It is no longer like our secular 
schools, which she took for a model for hers as the only 
kind by which she could reach the high-caste, and for the 
support of which the ten-year pledges were solicited and 
given, at the end of which time she believed her own 
countrymen would support it. But the Sadan has become 
a Christian institution. Missionaries report its work as 
mission work. Now, if this sudden change, if these rapid 
conversions, are the result of the indirect influence of 
Ramabai's unselfish, Christian life, then it is indeed God's 
own work, to which no one can say " God-speed " more 
gratefully, more reverently, than your Executive Committee. 

But if any direct influence has crept in, though all uncon- 
sciously to Ramabai, then the pledge to the people is 
broken; and we do regret that the policy of the school 
should be changed before the expiration of the ten years, — 
a policy insisted upon by Ramabai and faithfully adhered to 
by her constituents. 

But, with pledges broken or unbroken, it was a foregone 
conclusion some years ago that the Sharada Sadan would 
never receive the support that Ramabai hoped for from her 
own countrymen. The orthodox Hindu understands but 
little the meaning of freedom, much less that of ''religious 
freedom," and less yet of "unconscious" or "indirect" 

A member of the late Advisory Board, a reformer and a 
Brahmo, while objecting to this influence in the Sharada 
Sadan, was asked if the principal of the Poona High 
School — who had been twenty years a missionary before 


taking that position — could come in daily contact with her 
pupils without exerting over them some influence for Chris- 
tianity by her daily life. He replied most emphatically that 
she not only could, but did ! 

You have learned from Ramabai's report of her first visit 
to the famine-and-plague-stricken Central Provinces ; of the 
sudden increase of her pupils from fifty-six to ninety-nine ; 
of her intention to bring two hundred and fifty more of the 
starving children to the Sadan ; and of her need of funds 
for the erection of two large buildings, and to defray the 
expense of those already under construction. 

Do you ask if the Executive Committee approve of Rama- 
bai's going into the "relief work," and so far away from home ? 
We frankly answer that, had we known her intention sooner, 
a strong protest would have been made against it, and for 
reasons that will be given. 

First, the treasury cannot meet the demand that this 
great increase of expense makes upon it, even if the funds 
could be legitimately used for such purposes. If $6,000 
per year has been barely ample for the support of the 
Sadan with fifty or sixty inmates, how can it support two 
hundred and fifty, or one hundred, or even fifty more ? 

At a meeting of the Trustees and Executive Committee 
last week, in discussing the present situation, one of the 
Trustees, a level-headed lawyer, saw at once the danger 
that threatened the property belonging to the Association, 
if no protest were made against erecting new buildings 
and adding to old ones, with no funds to meet the ex- 
penses. Accordingly, a protest was cabled at once, with the 
message that the quarterly allowance could not be in- 
creased. It therefore devolves on the circles, individual 
donors, and Ramabai's many faithful friends to do their 
utmost to help her in this great emergency. No magician's 
wand, even in India, can convert copper coins into silver and 
silver into gold. Nor will the good God pour money into 
the treasury without human help, however strong the 


faith may be. Again, we deprecate Ramabai's active inter- 
est in this "relief work," because she is in a degree imper- 
illing her health if not her life, which are most precious to 
the work that she felt God gave to her alone to do ten years 
ago, and to which she consecrated her life. 

One cannot but recall here Ramabai's graphic account of 
the "relief work" she attempted to do in the sacred city of 
Bindraban not two years ago, where she went to rescue 
widows from the hands of the priests. There she saw speci- 
mens of humanity almost unhuman in body and mind, so 
brutalized had they become through starvation, sin, and 
loathsome diseases. The city itself was a reservoir of cor- 
ruption, filth, and vile odors. After one week of living 
there, if living it could be called, the sights she saw, the 
vile air she breathed, the privations endured, with the horror 
of it all, brought on an illness from which she barely escaped 
with her life. The Executive Committee then strongly pro- 
tested against her again taking up such work, feeling that 
her life was of more value than the lives of many widows. 
She unhesitatingly promised to heed their request. But 
again the impulses of her tender heart have gained control 
of the usually clear, wise head. Forgetting that, if the laws 
of nature be broken, the penalty must be paid, she is work- 
ing day and night, denying herself the comforts of life, even 
reducing the usual allowance of food, which is never over- 
generous. The spirit will soon exhaust a body not strong 
at its best ; and what will be the future of the Sharada 
Sadan, the child of many hopes and prayers, without her 
guiding hand and head and loving heart ? 

Again, we very much doubt the wisdom, prudence, or even 
kindness of bringing into the Home a hundred more or less 
of these "uncivilized," "senseless," "filthy" girls, — "no 
better than the brute animal," as Ramabai describes them, 
— to come into daily contact with the inmates of the 
Sharada Sadan. It seems to us that, if half a dozen girls, 
impure in thought and word, can have so bad an influence 


in the school as to necessitate dismissal, the addition of a 
hundred whose environments have been so heart-sickening 
and whose experiences have been so terrible as to beggar 
all description must be demoralizing in the extreme. 

In giving these facts and the inferences they have drawn 
from them, the Executive Committee have done so deeply 
feeling the responsibility of their position at this critical 
time in the life of the Sharada Sadan, and recognizing that 
they owe a duty to you, to the public, and to themselves, no 
less than to Ramabai. 

They have judged according to the light given them, 
and tried to be just to both sides of the question. And 
from their very hearts they wish that they could give un- 
qualified approval to all that has been done. 

The Executive Committee thoroughly appreciate the 
motives, the impulses, that have taken Ramabai into this 
relief work, despite promises and warnings. The present 
sufferings of her people from starvation have recalled and 
intensified the memories of her childhood, when, a homeless 
and penniless outcast, her father, with his little family, 
wandered from village to village, starving rather than beg, 
too proud as a Brahmin to work, and refused shelter even 
in the temples from the heat of the noonday sun and the 
night's cold breeze. There came a time when for two 
weeks they lived on water, leaves, and a handful of wild 
dates. Then, when the tortures of hunger were too great 
for the blind, infirm old man, he resolved to put an end to 
it all by drowning himself in a sacred tank, which is not 
considered suicide by a Hindu. He took leave of his family 
one by one. Ramabai, being the youngest, was the last to 
receive his farewell. Her own words most pathetically de- 
scribe the interview thus : " His blind eyes could not see 
my face ; but he held me tight in his arms, and, stroking my 
head and cheeks, he told me in a few words broken with 
emotion to remember how he loved me, how he had taught 
me to do right, and never to depart from the way of right- 


eousness. His last dying command was to lead an honor- 
able life and serve God. He did not know the only true 
God, but served the — to him — unknown God with all his 
heart and strength. 'Remember, my child,' he said, 'that 
you are my youngest, my best beloved child. I have given 
you into God's hands. You are his alone. You must 
serve him all your life.' My father's prayers were heard 
by the heavenly Father whom the old Hindu did not know ; 
and I can now say to the departed spirit, ' Yes, dear father, 
I will serve the only true God to the last ! ' " 

The sacrifice of the old father was not made. A fever 
came upon him, and death mercifully released him from 
his sufferings ; but it brought no kindness from the Hindus 
to his little family. No one could be found to lend a help- 
ing hand ; and the son tied the body in his dhoti, and 
carried it alone two miles from the town to its burial-place. 
As the father belonged to the Sannyasin order, his body, 
according to the command of the Shastras, must be buried 
in the ground. 

In a few weeks the mother sickened ; and after intense 
sufferings from fever, hunger, and thirst/which her children 
were unable to relieve, she died also. J?wo Brahmins were 
found with some pity in their hearts ; and they helped the 
children carry the body of the dead mother to the burning 
ghat, three miles away, — Ramabai, so small in stature, bear- 
ing her part of the burden on her head. After the sister's 
death by starvation, Ramabai and her brother continued 
their pilgrimage alone, — friendless, shelterless, going with- 
out food for days, and with clothing so thin that at night 
they were obliged to dig holes in the ground, and lie in 
them, with their bodies covered with the dry sand of the 
river bank. 

The present famine, with its frightful histories, has 
brought back to Ramabai's mind all the horrors of those 
early days, all the terrors of hunger and thirst with the 
train of evils that follow in their wake. One can scarcely 


wonder that her heart has gotten the better of her judgment, 
and prudence has yielded to pity and fear. How many of 
us are sure that we should not have done likewise ? But 
again we say that her life is too precious to be thus sacri- 

What Ramabai now asks for and most needs are our 
prayers and loving sympathy, wise encouragement and 
substantial help. She needs also the restraining influence 
of cautious, unbiassed advisers and friends. 

The Ramabai Circles have been most loyal to her whose 
name they bear ; and nobly have they done their part 
toward the success of the Sharada Sadan, which is in- 
deed phenomenal. We regret that a few have fallen by the 
way, and a few have ceased payment because they began 
the annual payment a year before the school opened. We 
ask them all to come to the front again, and, with one 
strong pull together, extricate Ramabai from her present 
dilemma. Let us all hold together, and work together with 
renewed energy and zeal until next year, when, March n, 
1898, Ramabai herself, God permitting, will be with us, 
telling of the wonderful work she has accomplished, and 
of the yet more wonderful work she intends to do. For, 
with a new basis for the school with its changed conditions, 
and a clearly defined policy that can admit of no misunder- 
standing or misinterpretation, it will surely meet with a 
success even greater than the success of the past. 

Professor Max Miiller, Ramabai's loyal friend, in a recent 
letter writes thus of her and her pupils : "My good opinion 
of Ramabai remains unchanged. She did not wish to be- 
come a Christian herself, but she could not help it. It was 
the same with my excellent friend Nehemiah Ghove. It is 
not so much the dogma, it is the general purity and sweet- 
ness of Christianity that proves inevitable. It is equally 
inevitable that those whom she has rescued from utter 
misery should wish to be with her in religious worship. 
Most of them, I imagine, would understand nothing of the 


Apostles' Creed, or very little. The dogma of the Trinity 
and its true historical origin at Alexandria would be above 
their grasp. . . . 

" If Christianity could be translated into true Indian 
thought, it would require little persuasion to make the 
Hindus adopt true Christianity. If, as with the case of the 
Sadan, the Hindus see such good work as Ramabai's, and 
do the same for their miserable child-widows, they glorify 
God by their works, and Ramabai need not be troubled. 
Wishing for her and her friends in America all success, I 
remain," etc. 

Ten years ago Ramabai asked for a guarantee of $75,000 
for the support of her school for a period of ten years,, 
which sum should include the purchase of a compound and 
the erection of suitable school buildings. One year before 
the expiration of the time $87,070.99 has been sent to the 
treasury. Did ever one man step into a foreign country, 
and a stranger, alone, single-handed, and, by his person- 
ality strong in purity, by his eloquence matchless in its 
simplicity, touch the hearts of the people and open their 
purses as this fearless but modest little Oriental woman did 
ten years ago ? And she will do it again. 

Large as are the figures mentioned, and few the num- 
ber of years, the wide-spread influence that Ramabai has 
exerted cannot be measured by time or space. Nor can 
any money value be placed upon the good she has accom- 
plished so quietly, so unobtrusively, that her own people are 
far from recognizing its extent and power as yet. But we 
prophesy that the time is coming, and not far distant, when 
her children, the children of her heart, the children of her 
country, shall rise up and call her blessed. 

And we, the women of America, can hasten that day by 
lending the helping hand to Ramabai in her attempt to free 
her degraded and suffering sisters (our sisters as well as 
hers) from their cruel, unhuman surroundings, — to Ramabai, 
the pure, unselfish woman, who is giving her life, her all, 


to this service ; by giving the warm hand of welcome to 
her Hindu brothers and sisters, living and working for the 
good of their own people, who come here not to teach but 
to be taught, not to glorify themselves but to glorify rather 
the God whom they serve, and the cause that is dear to them. 
Yet more can we help by refusing our hands to those Hindus 
who come here in flowing robes, with morals as loose as 
their robes, to scoff at Christianity, to teach us — the free 
women of free America, women honored alike by God and 
man — the beauties of the Vedanta philosophies, while their 
own land is a burning illustration of the weakness of those 
philosophies, left, as it is, steeped in ignorance, idolatry, 
superstition, and degradation. 

If they wish to eloquently illustrate or prove the beauties, 
the teachings, that are so much purer and sweeter than those 
of Christ, let them begin by teaching their own women how 
to read and write. Let them lift their own sisters from a 
rJlane "on a level with cattle," and make them by education 
the honored companion of man, a place that Christian women 
alone occupy. Let them teach their poor, ignorant country- 
men that their gods of gold and silver, of brass and stone, 
cannot help them in this their time of dire distress, when to 
the desolating plague and the pestilence that walketh at 
noonday are added the horrors of a famine, God help them ! 
Let them teach that the putrid waters of the holy wells are 
constantly breeding the cholera, the pestilence and the 
plague ; and that the sacred waters of the Jumna and the 
Ganges can neither purify their souls from sin, nor free their 
bodies from loathsome disease, nor cool the death-fever in 
their veins. When one can do all this, will do all this, 
then he may hope some day to stand on the same noble 
plane as his honored countrywoman, Ramabai ! 

" By their fruits ye shall know them." 

J. W. Andrews, Chairman. 

For the Executive Committee. 
Boston, March 17, 1897. 

The Ramabai Association was fortunate in having present 
as guests at its annual meeting Mr. and Mrs. Nikambe, of 
Bombay. Mr. Nikambe is a Christian minister in Bombay, 
and his wife has a school which is attended principally by 
young wives who come from the few families of progressive 
Hindus. Mrs. Nikambe is a personal friend of Ramabai, 
and, while the Sharada Sadan was at Bombay, was a teacher 
there. She gave a very interesting address in which she 
spoke of the condition of the women of India, specially 
emphasizing the sad facts of the hard and degraded life of 
the child-widows there, and impressed upon us anew the 
value of the splendid work that Ramabai is doing in her 
native country. She gave the two following illustrations 
which came within her personal knowledge in the city of 
Bombay : — 

" One of my assistant teachers is a high-caste Brahmin 
widow, and one of the few who have been educated ; and 
she is a very clever woman. She had a sister about 
fourteen years old, who had been married when she was 
seven ; and about three years since she lost her husband by 
cholera at Poona. As soon as the husband died, the 
mother-in-law and father-in-law disowned this little widow, 
and sent her back to her parents, not wanting to see her 
face again, because she had been the means of killing their 
son. The poor child travelled all alone in sorrow to her 
parents' home in Bombay. When she stood before the door 
of her own home, where her own father and mother and 
sister were living, the door was locked in her face. And 
by and by the mother came out, abused her, and said : ' I 
don't want to see you any more. Go drown yourself in the 
well. I don't want to see you any more in my house.' So 
the poor child was not allowed to enter. Her father was a 
teacher, and, of course, had some education ; and the sister 
was a widow, but educated. But this little girl was not 
educated, and, being so young, could do nothing. She was 
made to sit in the open compound, and there was abused so 
much that at last she really thought it was through some 
fault of hers that her husband had died. And she began to 
curse herself, and desire to put an end to her sad life. 

2 9 

There was a well at the end of the compound ; and one day 
she was just going to throw herself in, when a Catholic 
woman living in a neighboring house, having heard her 
distressed cries, came to her aid, and the poor child was 
cared for by Christians, or educated Hindus, and saved 
from the sad fate which had threatened her. This is some- 
thing which happened among my own friends ; and these 
things are happening every day. The people, many of 
them, do not know what is going on in these Hindu homes, 
nor how many widows, and even little wives, are treated so 
badly, and how much our women need to be lifted up out of 
the misery and degradation so common in the Indian 

"Then I should like to tell you of one more Hindu 
widow, who was quite well educated. I knew her when she 
was a little wife and had a husband and a little son, and 
the question of family education was so near and dear to 
her heart that she offered her services to the people of her 
own caste that she might do something in the way of teach- 
ing. She was appointed head mistress of a very prominent 
school in Bombay, which was started by one of our own 
native ladies who is dead now, but whose work still lives. 
The husband of this young teacher unfortunately died, and 
she was left a widow ; and, simply because she was a widow, 
there was a great change in her life. About four or five 
days after her husband's death my husband and I went to 
see her. We went upstairs to our dear friend's room. Her 
head had been shaved, and she was forced to weep and 
cry. The Hindus have set mourning days ; and on these 
days, morning and evening, they have to hire women to 
come around and sit at the door and beat their breasts and 
make a big noise. This friend was enlightened, and she 
knew there was no sense in this ; and she knew, even 
though her husband was dead, that it was a natural thing 
to happen. And she, sad as she was for the loss of her 
husband whom she had cared much for, wished to go on liv- 
ing as she had lived during his life. But the custom of his 
people would not allow it. Her mother-in-law came into 
our presence and began to talk. And, because the poor 
widow's eyes were dry, she scolded her and said : ' You are 
not to have your eyes dry. You must cry all the time, and 
put an end to your life.' These stories which I have told 
you, as I said, are true, — not those which I have heard or 


read, but those which have happened right among my 

" In regard to the ill-treatment and degradation there is 
one great thing at the bottom of it all, and that is the igno- 
rance of the women. Educate our women, and all these 
things will go away. The widows in India have been for 
ages and centuries groaning and crying to God, and God 
has heard their groaning just as he heard the cries of his 
chosen people when they were in bondage under the 
Egyptians. And, as the great Moses was raised, and called 
to be their leader and savior, so Ramabai, the Moses of 
India, has been raised and called of God to be the leader 
of her degraded, ignorant, ill-treated, and benighted sisters, 
— the women of her dear homeland. Truly, no work has 
so wonderfully prospered within so short a period as that of 
Sharada Sadan. May God raise many Ramabais and many 
Sharada Sadans, — institutions where Indian women may 
drink of the nectar of knowledge and wisdom ; and may he 
raise many noble-hearted and self-sacrificing women through- 
out the length and breadth of the Christian lands to carry 
education and Christianiiy to India ! 

" Along with you I wish God-speed to the great work 
which this Association is doing. It belongs not only to 
Ramabai and to you, but to every one. And in this work 
I, personally, feel that I owe you a debt for my country- 
women which can never be paid. But, as years pass, we 
hope to show you more and more our sincere gratitude for 
the life and light you, through Ramabai, have been the 
means of bringing into India." 

At the close of Mrs. Nikambe's address a motion was 

carried, requesting Dr. Donald to appoint a committee of 

five to inquire into the affairs of the school most minutely, 

and report to the Ramabai Association at a general meeting 

to be held before the next annual meeting. 

The meeting was then adjourned. 


Article I. The members of this Association shall be such 
persons as shall pledge themselves to the payment of not less 
than one dollar per year for a period of ten years. The annual 
payment of one hundred dollars for ten years shall constitute a 
scholarship. Every member shall be entitled to vote at the 
annual meeting. 

Art. II. The various Ramabai Circles which have been or 
may be formed throughout the country may become branches of 
this Association. Any member of such branches, pledging the 
payment of not less than one dollar per year for ten years, shall 
be a member of this Association, and shall be entitled to vote at 
the annual meeting. 

Art. III. The officers of this Association shall consist of a 
President, not less than three Vice-Presidents, a Treasurer, a 
Recording Secretary, a Corresponding Secretary, a Board of not 
less than seven trustees, an Executive Committee consisting of 
not less than seven persons, and an Advisory Board of three 
members in India. All said officers shall be elected at the annual 
meeting, and shall hold their offices until others are elected and 
qualified in their stead. Any vacancies occurring in any of the 
offices of this Association may be filled by the Executive Com- 

Art. IV. The Board of Trustees shall manage and control all 
the property and affairs of the Association. 

Art. V. The annual meeting of the Association shall be held 
in March of each year at such time and place in Boston, Mass., as 
the President shall appoint. 

Art. VI. The Board of Trustees shall meet semi-annually at 
such time and place as its Chairman shall appoint. The Execu- 
tive Committee shall meet monthly at such time and place as its 
Chairman shall appoint. This Committee shall attend to all the 
business details of the Association, and report to the Board of 
Trustees as often as such Board shall direct. It shall also make 
an annual report to the Association. Special meetings of the 
Board of Trustees or of the Executive Committee may be called 
by their respective Chairman, when necessary. 

Art. VII. The Advisory Board shall report to the Trustees 
upon such matters as may seem to them important, and upon such 
special matters as may be referred to them by the Association or 
by the Board of Trustees or by the Executive Committee. 

Art. VIII. These By-laws may be amended at the annual 
meeting of the Association or at any meeting called for the pur- 
pose, by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting.